Cryptocurrency scams — the evil truth

Released: March 7, 2024 at 10:13 a.m.

Reprinted from the Winnipeg Free Press Community Review

As a cryptocurrency investigator, I have seen the devastation that results from a person losing money to scammers. Many of us have heard the stories of people getting rich off cryptocurrency and may have even seen the images of those living lavish lifestyles with large homes and expensive cars. The reality is that many people who invest do not know the first thing about cryptocurrency, and that should be your first red flag when tempted with an online ad or offer to invest. Without knowing the system, one can be easily tricked and have very little recourse once money is sent.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) reported that in 2023 there were over 4,000 reports of investment scams in Canada with over $309 million in losses. Those are the reported numbers, and I would venture a guess that the real number is much higher.

I have seen many scenarios in which potential investors see ads on social media or navigate to websites where victims locate contact information for an investment firm. Once contact is made, it is common for victims to be assigned a ‘trader’ or ‘account manager’, and victims are convinced to make initial investments of $250 or similar amounts. The victims are then shown software showing that the funds have grown substantially, convincing them to invest further. Meanwhile, the victims are sending money to people or companies that can’t be can’t verify in any meaningful way.

The bottom line on cryptocurrency is this — do NOT invest if you don’t know anything about this market.

It is important to know that there is no stock market for cryptocurrency and that the coins fluctuate with market conditions so even the safest investor is taking on risk. It is also important to know that fake websites can be and have been created in order to commit fraud. These sites can appear legitimate and even have reviews (often created by the scammers) that further muddy the waters.

There are many investigative challenges for police once a report is made, but even when suspects are identified, they are usually located outside of Canada and in areas of the world in conflict or where the reliability of government and police may be problematic. I often hear “how can this be allowed to happen?” when wool is pulled back from victims’ eyes. We live in a country that allows many freedoms and with those good freedoms come the bad. This includes allowing persons intent on defrauding Canadians into our internet traffic.

My advice to people seeking to invest in cryptocurrency has been and always will be: Do not invest if you have no knowledge of cryptocurrency.

Should you be insistent, I would suggest using a well-known and reputable Canadian investment company. The other option is to use a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange in order to purchase cryptocurrency, and investors can then make their own decisions on coins to purchase.

Please refer to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website for further information on these scams and others, it can be found at:

Submitted by Det. Sgt. Blair Savinkoff #2603
Winnipeg Police Service

Financial Crimes Unit/ Cyber Investigations Team


Fraud Awareness Month

March is Fraud Prevention Month, so the Free Press Community Review is running stories from the Winnipeg Police Service on its annual campaign to help you recognize, report and reject fraud. This article is reprinted from the March 6 edition.

#FPM2024 #WPSFraudSquad

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